Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Friday, January 28, 2011

Just Before Spring

Just Before Spring

The Seed lies still, Her baby in a cradle.
Soft and moist, dark is the cave,
Deep beyond, below the mound.

Demeter waits.
She moves gently, stretching,
She kindles a fire to light the Land.
Winter is so long now.

Fingers waking, warming,
creeping through the cradle's chill cover.
Roots reaching,
Seeping, stirring, slowly searching.
Her girl, first and finest seed,
Lies there, somewhere...

Persephone sleeps lightly now,
Near Winter's end,
Dreaming into Spring's awareness.

copyright 2011 E A Kaufman

Friday, January 21, 2011

Artist Johanna Parker give-away!

Johanna Parker is a favorite folk artist of mine. Her work always gives me a little poke of nostalgia and pleasure. And now.. she's having a give-away, these sweet little pieces for Valentine's Day. Hop on over for a chance to win and take a look at her other delightful creations too.

Blessings nine!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Love Divination from Leland

People who know I am a witch ask me for assistance with many things, healing, prosperity, revenge, divination and, most often, assistance with their love lives.  Whether they want a love spell (this is really the most requested service) or a reading to determine if they should be with a certain person, will find the right person or what to do in a relationship, I take it all very seriously. It is after all of paramount importance to them. Some may laugh that people are still looking for magickal assistance with love, but deep within, most actually want assistance as well. It is a timeless endeavor for the witch. I find that hearts (emotional) are fragile things so I try to give assistance whenever I can. I do not do love spells for anyone, but I will tell them what they can do to bring love into their lives and, of course, there is always divination to advise and guide.

I have, as mentioned previously, recently been browsing through Charles Leland's Gypsy Sorcery & Fortune Telling, originally published in 1891, my copy is a Dover reprint from 1971. He had a keen interest in folklore and so traveled the world publishing articles about his research. He is best known for Aradia or Gospel of the Witches and this book on gypsy sorcery.

There are as many love spells and ways to find one's true love as there have ever been people on Momma Earth. Gypsy Sorcery has many ways to divine the romantic future, all interesting and some strange. Do they work? They must have, at least sometimes, since they survive. If you are looking, why not try a few?

Gypsy girls of Transylvania, Leland passes on to us from a Dr. Wlislocki's Ethnographies and The Gypsy Lore Journal of June 1890, believed that spells to know one's true love were best carried out on the eves of certain days, New Year, Easter and St. George. A young lady was to throw her shoes or boots on a willow tree. If the shoes were caught in the branches, she would be married within the year. A girl could only use this technique nine times, although there is no explanation as to why. 

I have a friend, age 80, who was born and grew up in what was once known as Yugoslavia. She taught me that women there danced around trees and shook them for a variety of spells - perhaps to awaken and receive the assistance of the tree's spirit? She could not tell me why they did this, only that it was done for many kinds of spells.

On these same eves, girls could go to a tree and shake it, taking turns, singing
Scattered leaves around I see,
Where can my true love be?
Ah, the white dog barks at last!
And my love comes running fast!
If she hears the barking of a dog while singing, the young lady will be "wedded and bedded" by the next New Year. This charm, he goes on to say, is very similar to one used in Tuscany and believed it to be of Etruscan origin. At night, on St. George's Eve (April 23, the date he is believed to have died or May 6 in the Eastern Orthodox calendar) gypsy girls would blindfold a while dog, letting it loose and placing themselves in various places nearby. Whomever the dog runs to first will be the first to be married. Wlislocki relates this to the game blind man's bluff and calls it an "anciently amorous, semi-magical, or witches' game, only that in place of the dog a man was blindfolded."

Another divination has a girl pull a hair from her head, tying a ring to it which is then dangled in a jar. The ring swings and as many times as it strikes the jar so it will be as many years until she is married.

On Whitsun morning (the seventh Sunday after Easter) girls would go outside and if there were clouds in the east, they would gather some twigs, throwing them in that direction while saying:
Fly my bird, fly I say,
Do not chase my love away.

On these days, the girls are not permitted to wash themselves, kiss anyone or go to church. They must also eat fish if it is Easter or St. George's Eve.

On Easter Sunday morning, they could boil water and try to divine the names of their future husbands in the bubbles. To find out whether a husband would be young or old, one would take nine seeds from a thorn-apple, dig up some soil from nine different places, gather water from nine places and with these ingredients, knead a cake and lay it at a crossroad. Her husband will be an old man or widower if a woman is the first to step on the cake; a young, single man if a man first steps on the cake.

I shall share one last divination, which I find the most interesting. On the night of St. George,  a girl should go to a crossroad with her hair combed back. She must prick the little finger of her left hand and spill three drops of blood on the ground while saying:
I give my blood to my loved one,
Whom I shall see shall be my own!
From out of the blood, a form shall appear showing her future husband, it will fade away slowly. She must then gather up the "mud-blood" and throw it into a river, otherwise the Water-spirits will lick up the blood and she will drown before the year is finished. Blood magic is always a serious business not to be undertaken lightly. 

There are many more, some silly, many interesting. Do they work? I leave it to those gentle, unmarried readers to find out.

Blessings nine!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blog Award and 7 Things About Me

I received this lovely award from Linda at http:/lindaomasoldebaggsnstuftshirts.blogspot.com/. Thank you so much, Linda!!!
The rules of this award are: Tell 7 things about yourself and then pass it along to 15 others - well, I don't have 15 people to pass this on to so I'll just answer the questions.

1. I'm rather shy. People usually think I'm standoffish (or worse), but it's really shyness - even with all my Leo energy.

2. I love home best of all. I'd rather be at the Toadstool than anywhere else. I always look forward to vacations and such, but once I get there, I want to go home. I'd rather people came to visit me than go out anywhere with them.

3. I talk to stones, plants, trees, animals, the lake, all the time.

4. I adore regency romance novels - yes, me, the feminist Dianic witch. I truly was born in the wrong time period - or maybe not, perhaps I just had such a wonderful life during the regency that I long to be back there! Whatever the reason, I enjoy them very much and so much the better if they have a bit of a mystery at the heart of the story.

5. I need to do some creative work everyday - stitch, paint, sketch, write, play music, whatever. If I don't take some time for this kind of expression, I feel a bit empty.

6. I can only wear very soft clothes because I have psoriasis (two kinds, I never do anything halfway!) and am uncomfortable and anxious otherwise. Even if I'm not having a flare-up, I need that softness against my skin or I just can't function. The softness makes me feel cozy and calm.

7. I generally do housework naked. (I know, TMI, too bad, you wanted to read these things about me, so there - sticking out tongue!)

Well, there you have it, likely more than you ever wanted to know. Actually I doubt that. I think people love to read intimate stuff about others. I also think people love to tell too, that's why we do this!

Blessings nine!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Comes the Full Moon

The Man in the Moon is a Lady by Val Lempiala
A Song of Enchantment

A song of Enchantment I sang me there,
In a green-green wood, by waters fair,
Just as the words came up to me
I sang it under the wild wood tree. 

Widdershins turned I, singing it low,
Watching the wild birds come and go;
No cloud in the deep dark blue to be seen
Under the thick-thatched branches green. 

Twilight came: silence came:
The planet of Evening's silver flame;
By darkening paths I wandered through
Thickets trembling with drops of dew. 

But the music is lost and the words are gone
Of the song I sang as I sat alone,
Ages and ages have fallen on me -
On the wood and the pool and the elder tree.

Walter de la Mare

In my area, the full moon occurs on Wednesday, January 19th at 4:22 PM. I will be honoring this time and making my usual magick. In the meantime, there is a libation to be brewed and an offering to be baked, a round, plump barley cake, fragrant and  filled with herbs and spices, seeds and a silver coin.

I have been browsing through Charles Leland's Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling recently. There are many interesting tidbits, so I thought I'd share a few.

According to Leland, when a gypsy woman is with child, she will not, if she can help it, leave her tent by full moonshine. A child born at the time of full moon will make a happy marriage.
He goes on to say that "moon-worship is very ancient; it is alluded to as a forbidden thing in the Book of Job. From early times witches and other women worked their spells when stark-naked by the light of the full moon, which is evidently derived from the ancient worship of that planet and the shameless orgies connected with it." These men!!! Their fantasies and general misogynistic tendencies made them fear women and their magick. He further states, "In ancient symbolism the horns of the moon were regarded as synonymous with the horns of the ox - hence their connection with agriculture, productiveness and fertility, or the general principle, and from this comes the beneficent influence not only of the horns, but of horse-shoes, boars' tusks, crabs' claws, and pieces of coral resembling them." He includes the following, which many of us are familiar with.

Pray to the moon when she is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Notice that the moon is called "she" in this little poem as opposed to "he" or the familiar  "man in the moon." The moon has always mystified and even terrified people. Even now, when man has been to the moon, She still fascinates us, She is not just a large rock orbiting Momma Earth. Her effects can be felt by all, the pull of the water in our bodies as well as the seas, our emotions.  I was born during the dark moon - does it mean anything? Did it mark me as one of Hekate's own? Who knows? And those born during full moons, does that make them more inclined to follow a mystical path too? The dark of the moon, the full moon - liminal times? I ponder the powers of the moon and Her influences.

Blessings nine!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Goddess Days for January

Various celebrations to enhance our Goddess spiritual practice. I have found these in various places. Some of the celebrations overlap, some are found a few days apart. Take what feels right for you.

January Goddess Days

January 2   - Birth of Inanna, Summerian Queen of Heaven. Make offerings of crescent shaped almond cookies - crescent for the moon, almond for wisdom.

January 3   - Pueblo Deer Dances, a women's fertility ceremony. Honor the deer, Artemis' sacred animal.

January 4   - Day of Isis & Hathor. Offerings of milk and other dairy products.

January 5   - Day of Befana, possibly an offshoot of the goddess Strenia. Ask for the gift of good health, vigor and strength.

January 5 or 6   - The Day of the Fates - needlework of any sort makes a fine offering.

January 6   - Day of Freya. Honor Her by wearing amber jewelry or perfume, burning amber incense and pampering a cat.

January 7   - Sekhmet's Day. Honor Her as the Sun, make offerings of spiced red tea or juice.

January 9   - Day of Antu, a goddess of Akkad, Babylon. She later was subsumed into Ishtar. Make offerings of candle light and incense as night falls.

January 10  - Dedicated to Rhea, goddess of the Earth, Mother of Demeter and Hera. Her symbol, the labyris or double axe.

January 11  - Feast of Carmenta, a Roman goddess of birth and midwifery, She foretold the future of newborn children. Divination is appropriate today.

January 15  - Day of Vesta. Light a fire in your hearth or with candles and ask Her blessings upon your home and family.

January 17  - Felicitas, Roman, a day of peace honoring Felicitas, Pax and Concordia.

January 18  - Theogamia of Hera, honoring women as wives.

January 20  - Day of Baba Yaga, the Russian Crone Goddess who became the old wicked witch. Also Baba Den, Bulgarian Crone. Celebrate the wise crone, the grandmother, the life cycle.

January 21  - Feast of Cybele, Phrygian Great Goddess. Her primary symbol is the bee, the Queen Great Mother. Make offerings of honey.

January 23  - Day of Pax, goddess of Peace.

January 24  - Hungarian Candle Blessing of Happy Women. Light a candle that all women, all over the world, may be blessed and protected by the Goddesses.

January 25  - Day of Lilith. Honor Her and invoke Her strength and independence.

January 26  - Day dedicated to Cerridwen and also Copper Women, goddesses of inspiration, creativity and shamansm. Tend to your cauldron. Ask either or both for creative inspiration and dream divination.

January 27  - Sementivae Feria, Roman, the seed time, dedicated to the goddesses of Grain & Harvest, Ceres, Demeter, Spider Woman, Cybele and Inanna.

January 28  - Scottish Fire Festival to honor Sun Goddesses in preparation for the coming of Brighid. Offer fire at hearth, by candle or outdoors.

January 29  - The Concordia, another date for celebrating Concordia, Pax and peace.

January 31  -  Imbolc Eve/Candlemas Eve. The ending of darkness, dedicated to Underworld goddesses, Hekate, Hel, Rhiannon, Persephone, Mother Holle, Erishkegal. Triple Goddess Rite. Honor the Maiden, Mother and Crone by lighting white, red and black candles and honoring the cycles of women's lives.
compiled from various sources including The Goddess Book of Days by Diane Stein, RCGI website, DeAnna Alba. 

Blessings Nine!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Resolutions - There's A Revolution!

I was discussing with some friends the idea of New Year's resolutions. I generally don't make resolutions, but I do like to write down some ideas, goals and inspirations that I want to keep in mind - perhaps those are resolutions after all. It seems there is a new revolution of which I was not aware - the "do away with new year's resolutions." Self improvement is now discouraged, accepting yourself warts and all, that is the new thing - only it's called being satisfied. Wow, what a concept! But is this really new? I mean, did people not know this? And should your goal/resolution, whatever - because that's what it is, be satisfaction? Shouldn't you just look at your life and say, all is well, I'm good? Keep moving along, living, being. laughing, crying, napping, whatever?

Well, excuse me, but I already have been there. Most people don't get through January without breaking those resolutions. Case in point - several years ago, I made a pact with a friend, a resolution at the end of December that beginning in the new year we would not buy any new cross stitch charts - if you cross stitch, you understand this completely, if not, no amount of explaining will help! In our utter and complete naivety, we really thought it was possible. On January 15 I came across The Blueberry Sampler - a border of blueberries, a house, a garden, a sun and moon - oh my!!! I sent the link to the sister-in-resolution. We ordered the chart on January 16th. Of course, we were not heartbroken or disgusted with ourselves or filled with self-loathing, as so many people seem to be when they break their resolutions. We thought, and still do to this day, that it was hysterically funny. In fact, I would go so far as to say we were... proud, we told everyone we know and continue to do so!!! What true stitchers we are, of course we couldn't resist that sampler. Oh - the sampler is still only half done - so what? Someday it will get done and sit with the pile of stuff that needs framing - I don't have any wall space left!!!

Here's the thing, if you want to make resolutions, lists of goals and ways to improve yourself - oh dear, that's another nit-picky thing, you are just fine as you are and don't need improving! OK - lots of people go overboard with the self-improvement goals, so knock yourself out if that's your choice. But be gentle with yourself too. We ARE good, all is well, most of the time - after all, into each life a little crap must fall. That crap will make you stronger, honestly, you will get on. Making resolutions and breaking them is just human, it will not destroy your life - unless you allow it to. Actually, I would go so far as to say that breaking resolutions is a tradition! That being said, many people stick to some and are very pleased and change their lives for the better - most just go about their lives and make new ones on the next new year.

I think having some resolutions or goals is not a sin, in fact it gives you a little kick in the pants to go forth and be what you can. Just don't over do it or take it too seriously and all will be fine. And if you break your resolution - laugh, shake your head and look at how wonderful you are - because we all are wonderful in all our imperfections. Then, just move on along, take the next step, make a new list or adjust the old one - or burn it! Whatever makes you happy. There's the point, be happy, because, really, I promise you, there is so much to be happy about.

Blessings nine1